What’s the best way to get more interactions from your customers? It’s a tough question for a big business, even harder for a small one. Do you stick to the competitive world of social media? Or do turn your attention to using tried and tested email marketing?

It might seem old fashioned, but email marketing is as relevant now as it has ever been. For all its modern advantages, social media continually falls short on conversions compared to the output of email, specifically against businesses using an email mailing list.

It’s not hard to see why business mailing lists can be so effective. They allow you to build a much closer relationship with your customers, providing better overall retention and forming a core pillar of your marketing strategy. They’re a particularly powerful tool when used with older generations and people who don’t use social media very much.

If you’ve no idea where to start when it comes to building your business mailing list, don't panic. We’ll look at ‘what is a mailing list?’ and explain how to create a mailing list of your own in no time at all.

What is a mailing list?

Despite the intimidating prospect of stepping into email marketing, a business mailing list is an incredibly simple idea to wrap your head around.

An email mailing list is essentially a list of emails a business or individual has collected. These have been gathered with the permission of the email’s owner, usually from visitors and customers who use your website. People will normally provide you with their email address to:

  • Subscribe to your blog
  • Get free downloadable content
  • Receive offers
  • Follow business updates
  • Sign up to purchase an item

This lets you use your email mailing list to deliver bulk offers, discounts, and follow-ups to your customers, encouraging them to make further purchases.

But be sure you keep up with GDPR laws and only contact users for the purposes they've given permission for.

How to create a mailing list

Understanding how to create an email mailing list is a must for anyone who wants to get the most out of their customer base, and knowing how to create a mailing list will put you way ahead of the competition.

Much like the answer to 'what is a mailing list?', the steps you need to follow to create an email mailing list are also incredibly straightforward.

1. Have a website

First off, you’ll need to set up a website if you haven’t already. Websites are a must-have aspect of any business, no matter its size. If you find you’re in need of a website, check out our piece on the best website builders currently out there – they'll have you up and running in no time. Or you could have something more bespoke with Web Hosting.

2. Use an email marketing tool

Once your website is up and running, you’ll need to sign up with an email marketing service. There are many popular email marketing services like MailChimp or ConvertKit. Using one of these will make the management of your mailing list a lot easier, as well as help with the execution of bulk emails, and ensure you’re not accidentally breaking any email laws.

If you opt for a WordPress site, there are also loads of email marketing plugins that you can use to manage your email mailing list alongside your website.

3. Get a professional email address

You'll also want to consider using your own domain name in your email address so your emails always look professional. It’s very simple to set yourself up with any email hosting service. We even offer Email Hosting right here at Fasthosts for as little as £1 per month for the first year.

4. Make it easy to subscribe

Once you're set up with a professional email address, you’ll need to make sure it's super easy for people to subscribe to your email mailing list. Doing this is a relatively simple task, especially if you used a website builder. All you need to do is add a call to action (CTA) at the base of your pages.

5. Get their attention

Other ways to add CTAs include the use of pop-ups or slide-on windows with a subscription message. You can use them to alert visitors of your newsletter, offers and more. They can work quite well, provided they’re not too intrusive on the user’s screen – make sure they're not too big on smaller screens like mobiles and tablets.

6. Offer subscribers something in return

You can increase the effectiveness of your CTAs even more with the addition of lead magnets. Lead magnets are simple things, like an eBook of tips or a guide to beginner workout routines. The subscriber would then receive it for free upon signing up.

How to create an email mailing list in excel

Naturally, if you’re a relatively small or local business and can’t afford to invest in an email marketing tool, you can make the organisation of your mailing list easier using a spreadsheet tool like Excel.

Excel is a brilliant tool to use when organising your email list. By filling out the spreadsheet in a logical manner, you can easily copy and paste the email addresses you want to use into the appropriate email. It’s especially good if you only have a small list to begin with.

How to maintain an email mailing list

Once your email list is set up, you’ll need to maintain and reorganise it fairly regularly. Email segmentation is the perfect way to organise your email mailing lists, allowing you to divide them into demographics, search preferences, purchase history, and more.

You should also keep an eye on open rates, allowing you to see which emails are preferred by which subscribers, and which subscribers may have stopped using your services altogether. You can use this to add value to your emails with further lead magnets, updates, newsletters, and offers, as well as send out re-engagement emails to subscribers who haven’t used your website in a long time. Doing this is often far more successful than trying to get new subscribers on board.

Why do email mailing lists work so well?

Even though social media is more ‘out there’, there are a few key reasons as to why email mailing lists typically outperform social media platforms in terms of conversions.

To start with, it’s a lot more personal. When was the last time you saw a social media ad that was specifically directed at you and used your name? Personalised marketing continuously proves to be more efficient, showing people are far more likely to interact with a more tailored experience.

This personalised element also comes with other benefits. It allows you to be purposeful in your message and design emails for different target audiences, ensuring you get a higher open rate and a potential increase in conversions.

How to send a marketing email

So, now you know how to create a mailing list, the next and final part is learning how to send a marketing email. Understanding the in-depth process of how to send a marketing email could form an entire topic of its own so we’ll leave you with a couple of tips to get started.

  • Understand your target audience
    You should already have a basic idea of this if you segmented your emails appropriately, but you should also make sure that your email content resonates with your target audience – understand their needs and wants.
  • Create content that is valuable to subscribers
    Make sure what you're sending out is  actually valuable to your audience and that you come across as authentic. Authenticity and relevance are more important than ever so make sure you stand out from the crowd.

Now you should be more than ready to build your own email mailing list. But if you want even more control over your emails then why not check out our Exchange Email hosting? Or, if you enjoyed this article and want to read more, visit our blog or browse our business hub for guides on ways to grow your business.